MariAntonia/MemoriAntonia Janelas da Memoria [Sao Paulo 2003] Print E-mail

Hoheisel & Knitz


MariAntonia / MemoriAntonia Janelas da Memoria

Exhibition: MariAntonia / Goetheinstitut Centro Universitario da USP 18. September – 19. Oktober 2003


Katalog: re-FLEX-o Memoria Sao Paulo ab April 2004/release April 2004




Essay: Horacio Gonzales, Rosario, Argentina


Kuratoren der Ausstellung: Yara Richter, Joachim Bernauer, Goetheinstitut, Lorenzo Mammi, MariAntonia







Sao Paulo, city without memory

Was the subject of a workshop we taught in September 2001 in the Centro Cultural Maria Antonia of the University of Sao Paulo [USP]. One of the students brought to the first meeting an empty film box and told us: »My memory of this city is like an empty film box. I do not have any pictures of the history or the past of Sao Paulo in my mind«. Many friends told us: »The people that live here only live for today, they do not care about the past.«

But we found some pictures of the past. They are hanging in the wall, which leads to the office of the Director of the Maria Antonia Cultural Centre: photographs of the barricades in the year 1968, when Maria Antonia was the centre of a violent conflict between the students and the police.

The photos reminded us about that these buildings are symbolic signs of the recent history of Brazil. The dictatorship could not stand these symbolic buildings. They wanted to extinguish the memory of this place. They took the buildings away from the University and put one of their institutions in it: one part of the administration of the prisons of the state of Sao Paulo.

With the new democracy the state handed back the buildings to the university in the year1996. One of them is restored as the Centro Cultural Maria Antonia. The other building was several years empty and conserves until today traces of its history since 1968. In some rooms there were files stored. But in the meantime the pigeons have distracted them and eaten the documents and performed them into pigeon shit.

On the walls there are still stamps and documents from the time of the military dictatorship.
Next year this second building will go in renovation. Time to preserve some objects, which demonstrate the story of the buildings in a very strange and artistic way.

We have already chosen these objects and parts of the walls with historical signs. We want to preserve and to perform them into art works.

To take away this, at the first look banal things from the original rooms, to perform them into artificial objects and to give them a new context as works in a art exhibition, means to give them a new value as art works. But they do not loose their signification as exhibits of the political conflict from 1968, and of the long period of time of the military dictatorship. In the new context as art works in a Museum or another house of culture these exhibits will tell their story stronger then before in the empty rotten building, where only the pigeons, this symbol for peace, distracted the files of the military dictatorship.

Memory needs the contact with objects. We find by accident an old toy from our childhood and in the very same moment all memories of our parents house are present.

Our exhibits, taken out of the building from Maria Antonia, performed to art works will save the memory of this symbolic place of Sao Paulo.

After the renovation we will install photographs of the exhibitis in the new offices of Maria Antonia, where new people work in cultural matters. They will mark the original places, where they were taken from before they were performed to artworks.

So the objects will not only remain in their new art context, they will also commemorate the past and their history on the original places in the restored building with its new function as an centre of culture.


Horst Hoheisel Andreas Knitz